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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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Such a compulsory exchange of population, or rather the expulsion of
all Ukrainians and White Ruthenians, Polish citizens, whose ancestors
had been bound up with the Polish Commonwealth and who had been
living on their own soil for centuries, was beyond the scope of Polish
loyalty. As citizens of Poland, these people, who enjoyed the same
rights as the Poles, and in the Polish Parliament possessed a numerically
strong representation comprised of M.P.s from all political parties,
ranging from Nationalists to Radical Socialists, could not be £ handed
The Ukrainians, particularly those in Eastern Galicia, were ardent
nationalists—they desired to see an independent Ukraine. The Polish
administration had perhaps blundered in her policy towards them, but
the Polish authorities had never made any move to hamper their national
and economic development. Within the confines of the U.S.S.R. the
Ukrainians were dying as a nation, hence the fact that the Polish
Ukrainians9 fear of Russia was greater than their dislike for the Poles. In
the event of having to choose between the two, it was quite certain that
the greater percentage of the population of the whole of Eastern Poland
or of a section of Eastern Poland (should part of that country be occupied
by the Soviets) would go to the Polish Republic. Neither the Ukrainians
nor the White Ruthenians regarded themselves as Russians; on the
contrary, they considered themselves very different from the latter.
They were both ethnically and culturally more akin to the Poles than to the
Russians; this was due to a common age-long relationship, the numerous
mixed marriages, the influence of Polish culture and social institutions
modelled on Western patterns, and lastly—with regard to a large section
of the White Ruthenians and Ukrainians—it was also due to the Catholic
religion common to themselves and to the Poles.
With the exception of a small number of Communists, there was in
Poland no political group among the Ukrainians which would have tried
to secure the support of Soviet Russia. During the Soviet occupation
none of the Ukrainian political parties had claimed to be pro-Russian.
As soon as the Germans re-occupied Eastern Galicia some Ukrainian
elements went so far in demonstrating their attitude as to form several
volunteer divisions to fight against the Soviet armies. The Ukrainian
Front of National Unity and the OUN (Ukrainian secret terrorist
organisation) tried to get in touch with the Germans.
It may be said that before the outbreak of wars in spite of certain
frictions and mutual grievances, the relations between the main body of
Ukrainians and the Poles gradually improved and advanced towards a
still closer understanding. In August, 1939, shortly before the outbreak
of war, the largest and most important Ukrainian party, the Ukrainian
National Democratic Union (UNDO), issued a declaration in which the
Ukrainian population affirmed their allegiance to the Polish State and
asserted that they would fulfil their duty as loyal citizens in the event